Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Nine in 10 Americans say ban texting while driving

Tue Aug 7, 10:36 AM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ninety-one percent of Americans believe sending text messages while driving is as dangerous as driving after having a couple of drinks, but 57 percent admit to doing it, a poll released Tuesday said.

The Harris Interactive survey commissioned by mobile messaging service Pinger Inc. found 89 percent of respondents believe texting while driving is dangerous and should be outlawed.

Even so, 66 percent of the adults surveyed who drive and use text messaging told pollsters they had read text messages or e-mails while driving. Fifty-seven percent admitted to sending them.

The state of Washington in May passed the first ban in the United States on texting while driving and at least six other states including New York, California and Florida are considering similar legislation, Pinger said in a statement releasing the survey results.

The survey found that men and women sent text messages while driving at equal rates but that the young did so more frequently. Sixty-four percent of those who admitted to sending text messages while driving were aged 18 to 34 while 6 percent were 55 or older.

The poll surveyed 2,049 U.S. adults from June 29 to July 3, giving the survey a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.